[Ads-l] gig = 'jig'

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 2 15:28:52 EDT 2016

On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 6:33 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> The Clinton campaign announces that with the revelation of T---p's 1995 tax
> return, "The gig is up."

In a moderately-similar vein, while browsing around the Web, earlier today,
I came across a page with a title like, "[Some Random Number of] Words That
You Didn't Know You Were Mispronouncing."

Among them was the semi-word, _gif_ < "graphics interchange format."
Apparently, its developer, Steve Wilhite, in a fit of pique, has decreed
that _gif_ be pronounced "jif,"


The creators of the format pronounced GIF as "jif" with a soft "G
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G>" /ˈdʒɪf/
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_English> as in "gin". Steve
Wilhite <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Wilhite> says that the
intended pronunciation deliberately echoes the American peanut butter brand,
 Jif <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jif_(peanut_butter)>, and CompuServe
employees would often say "Choosy developers choose GIF," [punning on] this
brand's television commercials.[8]

An alternative pronunciation with a hard "G" (/ˈɡɪf/
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_English> as in "graphics," for
which it stands) is in widespread usage.[9]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-BBC20130522-9> The *American
Heritage Dictionary
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-10> cites both, acknowledging
"jif" as the primary pronunciation, while *Cambridge Dictionary of American
English*[11] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-cambridgedict-11>
only the hard-"G" pronunciation. *Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
[12] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-12> and the *OED*[13]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-oxforddict-13> cite both
pronunciations, but place "gif" in the default position ("\ˈgif, ˈjif\").
The *New Oxford American Dictionary
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Oxford_American_Dictionary>* gave only
"jif" in its 2nd edition[14]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-14> but updated it to "jif,
gif" in its 3rd edition.[15]

The disagreement over the pronunciation led to heated Internet debate. On
the occasion of receiving a lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Webby
Award <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webby_Award> ceremony, Wilhite
rejected the alternative pronunciation,[9]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-LAT20131204-17> and his speech
led to 17,000 posts on Twitter <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter> and
50 news articles.[18] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-18>
The White
House <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House>[9]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-BBC20130522-9> and the TV
program *Jeopardy! <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeopardy!>*[17]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-LAT20131204-17> also waded
into the debate during 2013.
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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